EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 07 - 2001 Num. article: 2001/129

Tecia solanivora introduced into Islas Canarias, Spain

Tecia solanivora (Lepidoptera, Gelechiidae – EPPO Alert List) is a serious pest of potato whose larvae feed exclusively on tubers in the field and in stores. It is currently spreading in Central and South America, and was recently introduced into Islas Canarias, Spain. In June 1999; severe outbreaks of a potato tuber moth were noted in the north of Tenerife which is the main potato-growing region of the island. In March 2000, the pest was identified as Tecia solanivora. Since summer 2000, a survey has been set up and pheromone traps have been placed in potato fields and stores on the island of Tenerife. In the field, the number of affected ‘municipios’ has increased, but the south of Tenerife island remains free from the pest. In February 2001, results of trapping in potato stores showed that on the 21 sites studied only 3 were free of T. solanivora, in the majority of potato stores male captures ranged from 1 to 15 per week, and in 2 stores high populations levels were found with 15 to 50 males caught per week. Pheromone traps were also placed in other islands. So far, no males have been caught in the fields of the main potato-growing regions of the other islands, but captures were made in ware potato stores in La Gomera, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria. Spanish local newspapers report that in 2001, it was estimated that in the north of Tenerife, potato production was reduced by 50% because of T. solanivora and a severe drought, leading to economic losses of at least 150 millions pesetas (about 900,000 EUR). The situation is considered serious and discussions are reported in the newspapers about financial compensation for growers. To avoid any further spread of T. solanivora, information campaigns for the growers describing the pest and control methods are being carried out, surveys are being intensified in potato fields and stores with pheromone traps, a prohibition to use ware potato tubers from infested areas as seed potatoes is being enforced. It is thought that this pest was introduced illegally with potatoes from Venezuela, Colombia or Ecuador. This is the first report of T. solanivora in Europe. The situation of T. solanivora in Spain can be described as follows: Present, only in the Islas Canarias (north of Tenerife both in the fields and stores - found only in potato stores in La Gomera, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote).


La plaga que arrasa los cultivos de papas tinerfeños amenanza con invadir Gran Canaria. La Provincia, 03 Junio 2001.

El precio de la papa se dispara y sube 23 pesetas el kilo en un año en las Islas.
La Provincia, 16 Mayo 2001.

Sequía y plagas reducirán a la mitad la produccíon de papa local este año.
El Dia Tenerife, 16 Agosto 2001.

Short report of the EU Standing Committee on Plant Health of 2001-02-26/27.

NPPO of Spain, 2001-10.